Hosea 4

1 Hear the LORD’s word, you children of Israel; for the LORD has a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “Indeed there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2 There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break boundaries, and bloodshed causes bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone who dwells therein will waste away. All living things in her, even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky; yes, the fish of the sea also die. 4 “Yet let no man bring a charge, neither let any man accuse; For your people are like those who bring charges against a priest. 5 You will stumble in the day, and the prophet will also stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you may be no priest to me. Because you have forgotten your God’s law, I will also forget your children. 7 As they were multiplied, so they sinned against me. I will change their glory into shame. 8 They feed on the sin of my people, and set their heart on their iniquity. 9 It will be, like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and will repay them for their deeds. 10 They will eat, and not have enough. They will play the prostitute, and will not increase; because they have abandoned giving to the LORD. 11 Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding. 12 My people consult with their wooden idol, and answer to a stick of wood. Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have been unfaithful to their God. 13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery. 14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes; so the people without understanding will come to ruin. 15 “Though you, Israel, play the prostitute, yet don’t let Judah offend; and don’t come to Gilgal, neither go up to Beth Aven, nor swear, ‘As the LORD lives.’ 16 For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will the LORD feed them like a lamb in a meadow. 17 Ephraim is joined to idols. Leave him alone! 18 Their drink has become sour. They play the prostitute continually. Her rulers dearly love their shameful way. 19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings; and they shall be disappointed because of their sacrifices.

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-5

Hosea reproves for immorality, as well as idolatry. There was no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God in the land: it was full of murders, II Kin. 21:16. Therefore calamities were near, which would desolate the country. Our sins, as separate persons, as a family, as a neighbourhood, as a nation, cause the Lord to have a controversy with us; let us submit and humble ourselves before Him, that he may not go on to destroy.

Verses 6-11

Both priests and people rejected knowledge; God will justly reject them. They forgot the law of God, neither desired nor endeavoured to retain it in mind, and to transmit the remembrance to their posterity; therefore God will justly forget them and their children. If we dishonour God with that which is our honour, it will, sooner or later, be turned into shame to us. Instead of warning the people against sin, from the consideration of the sacrifices, which showed what an offence sin was to God, since it needed an atonement, the priests encouraged the people to sin, since atonement might be made at so small an expense. It is very wicked to be pleased with the sins of others, because they may turn to our advantage. What is unlawfully gained, cannot be comfortably used. The people and the priests hardened one another in sin; therefore justly shall they share in the punishment. Sharers in sin must expect to share in ruin. Any lust harboured in the heart, in time will eat out all its strength and vigour. That is the reason why many professors grow so heavy, so dull, so dead in the way of religion. They have a liking for some secret lust, which takes away their hearts.

Verses 12-19

The people consulted images, and not the Divine word. This would lead to disorder and sin. Thus men prepare scourges for themselves, and vice is spread through a people. Let not Judah come near the idolatrous worship of Israel. For Israel was devoted to idols, and must now be let alone. When sinners cast off the easy yoke of Christ, they go on in sin till the Lord saith, Let them alone. Then they receive no more warnings, feel no more convictions: Satan takes full possession of them, and they ripen for destruction. It is a sad and sore judgment for any man to be let alone in sin. Those who are not disturbed in their sin, will be destroyed for their sin. May we be kept from this awful state; for the wrath of God, like a strong tempest, will soon hurry impenitent sinners into ruin.

Back to Top